Camaro SS Cold Air Intake Guide (Gen 6)

Chandler Stark

Meet Chandler

Chandler is an automotive expert with over a decade of experience working on and modifying cars. A couple of his favorites were his heavily modded 2016 Subaru WRX and his current 2020 VW Golf GTI. He’s also a big fan of American Muscle and automotive history. Chandler’s passion and knowledge of the automotive industry help him deliver high-quality, insightful content to TuningPro readers.

The Camaro SS returned in 2010 to a lot of fanfare and hype, and Chevy finally gave it more than 400 hp for the first time in history. In 2016, Chevy released the 6th and most current generation of the Camaro SS, giving it the 6.2 L LT1 V8 (not to be confused with the 1990s 5.7L LT1). For 2023, the Camaro SS with the LT1 makes 455 hp and 455 ft-lb of torque.

One of the best and most popular mods for people looking to get even more power out of their LT1 is a cold air intake (CAI).. They are easy to install, relatively inexpensive, and they add a noticeable gain in performance. They also make the car more fuel efficient, spruce up the engine bay, and increase the sound of the engine.

This guide will cover everything you need to know about upgrading from the stock intake on your Camaro SS. We’ll talk about what they are, the different styles available, numerous benefits, and give our recommendations for the top performers. Let’s get started!

Camaro SS Intake Upgrades - Best Chevy Camaro Cold Air Intakes

Camaro SS Performance Intakes

As we just mentioned, there are a ton of reasons for upgrading the stock intake on your 6th Gen Camaro SS. The stock intake is decently well designed, but compared with aftermarket versions it’s considered restrictive. Upgrading to a performance intake on the LT1 Camaro SS will add power, efficiency, look good, and reduce weight.

The main ways that performance intakes increase power is by having an intake filter that is larger than stock coupled with less restrictive intake piping. The larger filter allows for more air to be sucked in, and the smoother piping design reduces air turbulence. Both of these combine to increase both the volume and velocity of airflow through the intake system. The way to increase power in an engine is by adding fuel and air, and performance intakes are the best way to start this.

Cold Air Intakes vs Short Ram

There are generally two types of performance intakes: cold air intakes and short ram intakes. The difference between the two is the length and location of the intake piping and air filter. Short rams have the least amount of piping possible, which places the air filter very close to the engine in the bay. Cold air intakes have longer piping than short rams. This allows them to relocate the air filter further away from the engine, typically near the wheel well or fender area.

Cold air intakes get their name because the further away from the engine you can pull in air the colder that air will be. Cold air is beneficial for engines because it has more oxygen than hot air, which means better performance. Short rams are advantageous because of the minimal intake piping length, leaving the shortest distance for air to travel on the way into the engine.

On the Camaro SS, cold air intakes are preferred, but to be honest the difference is incredibly minimal. Due to the size of the 6.2 L LT1 V8 and the small engine bay, there really isn’t much room to relocate the filter. Most short rams and cold air intakes look almost identical, except cold air intakes generally have an airbox. Airboxes are important because they help isolate the filter from the engine and thus mitigate some heat soak.

The stock Camaro SS intake is actually already somewhat of a cold air intake, as the filter is sitting as far away from the engine as possible. The gains you get from performance intakes are going to be the increased flow and volume of air.

Open vs Closed Systems

Another distinction between Camaro SS intake systems is if they are open or closed. Open air intake systems have air filters that sit in the engine bay completely exposed. Closed systems instead place the filter in an airbox, which isolates it from the engine bay. Open air intake systems are beneficial because there is no restriction of air flowing into the filter, whereas the airboxes on closed systems do restrict flow a little bit. The benefit to airboxes on closed systems is they reduce intake temperatures by shielding away heat from the engine.

For the Camaro SS, there are very few completely open intake systems, and most of them are actually hybrid style. They have ¾ airboxes, which allows at least one side to be fully open to grab in air. This makes performance intakes on the Camaro SS’ 6.2 L LT1 the best of both worlds: partially open and closed.

Cold Air Intake Benefits

  • +5-15 whp/wtq
  • Improved throttle response
  • Improved engine bay aesthetics
  • Improved fuel economy
  • Increased air flow and volume
  • Increased engine sounds

The most noticeable advantage of upgrading your intake is going to be the power increase. Adding just an intake by itself will net between 5-15 whp/wtq at peak power. You will also notice increased throttle response everywhere in the powerband, even at low engine loads during cruise speeds. Most of this, as we mentioned, is from the increased flow and volume of air coming through the larger than stock intake.

However, performance benefits are not the only reasons to upgrade your stock intake. With the more open-style intake system, you will hear the sweet sounds of the LT1 more prominently. You will also see a small improvement to gas mileage, though to be honest, it’s relatively minimal.

Another advantage of an aftermarket intake is going to be how it makes your engine bay look. The stock system has textured piping leading to an oversized and unfortunately shaped plastic airbox. Aftermarket intakes have much smoother and nicer-looking piping than OEM, making them look clean but aggressive. The airboxes are also much more stylish and allow you to see the massive K&N cone filters in the bay.

Top 4 Camaro SS Cold Air Intakes

  • Roto-Fab Cold Air Intake
  • Chevrolet Performance Intake
  • Mishimoto Performance Intake
  • K&N Performance Intakes

For upgrading the factory intake there are several good options. The four that we have listed here are the best Camaro SS intakes based on price, performance, style, and design. This is not an exhaustive list of Camaro SS intakes, as there are dozens of options, but only represents the top choices.

Our Number 1 Recommendation – Roto-Fab Cold Air Intake

Price: $469.99 – $489.95

Buy Here: Roto-Fab Gen. 6 Camaro SS CAI Dry Filter System; Roto-Fab Gen. 6 Camaro SS CAI Wet Filter System

The number one option on our list is the Roto-Fab CAI with sound tube delete. Within the Camaro SS community, the Roto-Fab CAI is by far the most sought out and highest reviewed. It has consistently shown the biggest gains on dynos and in the real world, and is highly recommended by tuners. Gains with the Roto-Fab are 10-15 whp/wtq, making it a top-performing option.

The Roto-Fab has an airbox but it is open on top. This leads to good heat shielding while also allowing for optimal flow. The sound tube delete does not diminish the sound, as the intake by itself makes more noise than stock. However, it does get rid of the gimmicky device inside the piping, allowing for a completely smooth elbow design for max flow and volume.

The Roto-fab Camaro SS intake has a massive K&N filter on it, a big improvement over the stock panel filter. The cone shape allows for more surface area and a better-flowing design. We highly recommend the Roto-Fab for all Camaro SS build levels, big and small. It performs incredibly well under all conditions, and has dyno-proven results.

A Cold Air Intake Upgrade Is A Good Starter Mod For Any Camaro SS Build

Intake upgrades on the Camaro SS are fun mods that increase performance while providing aesthetic pleasure. You can gain 5-15 whp/wtq with a new intake, and it’ll make your car sound more aggressive and spruce up your engine bay. Tuning is not necessary with an intake upgrade, though it will definitely help squeeze out more power. We looked at a variety of intakes in our guide and all of them are solid choices.

The hands-down winner is going to be the Roto-Fab CAI with the sound tube delete. It offers the best mix of performance, design, reliability, and style. The Mishimoto and Chevrolet performance intakes are both pretty similar in terms of performance, design, and price. You can’t go wrong with either one for your build, though the Mishimoto intake does have a slight advantage in price. If you’re just looking for the standard K&N intake for your Camaro SS you can look at both their 63/71-3092 options, but those probably aren’t going to be the best performers.

Whatever intake you go with you will be happy with the results. They all offer solid performance gains without breaking the bank too much.

Are you considering an upgraded intake on your Gen 6 Camaro SS?

Let us know in the comments below!

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *